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A cost-effective answer to an expensive PC

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Wonder gadget: The scalable @box brings home ‘edutainment’.
Wonder gadget: The scalable @box brings home ‘edutainment’.

Special Correspondent

Offering multiple functions the scalable @box, made in two variants, is an embedded system that brings home ‘edutainment’

HYDERABAD: If you always wondered why you could not do away with that ‘huge’ CPU dominating your work station at home and too many cables connected to it, now is the chance. You can do away with them soon. For that matter, you don’t need a PC at home.

A device that offers multiple functions – Internet browsing, data storage, IPTV, videoconferencing through Skype or Yahoo, DTH, watch movie on YouTube, 3D games, and digital video recording – has been developed and patented by Hyderabad-based Ichip Technologies.

The scalable @box, made in two variants, is an embedded system that brings home ‘edutainment’, said Chief Technology Officer of the company Kota Bhaskar, at a press conference here. You can download stuff from the Internet, store information either in a flash drive or remotely store it online. It supports a 720p high-definition TV also. All that you require is a broadband connection (256kbps unlimited broadband connection offered by the BSNL is preferred). A remote keyboard, mouse and remote control are supplied as part of the package with @ box.

Negotiations

The product will be commercially deployed by March next year, but not in a standalone mode. The company is in advanced stages of negotiations with BSNL/MTNL and other major telecoms.

Besides, it is tying up with a TV manufacturing major in India for embedding the @box within the TV, according to Chairman and Managing Director of the company K.A. Padmanabham. It is also talking to Doordarshan to integrate its DTH services.

One-fourth cost

While the cheapest computer would cost at least Rs. 10,000, the add-ons required for running it at home would cost almost an equal amount. The @box offers all the services at almost a fourth of the cost, said Mr. Bhaskar. The device would have a completely optimised Linux open source operating system, offering open office and other packages free. It doesn’t have moving parts like fan and is not vulnerable to power fluctuations. It starts instantly, as no booting is required and the response time is almost zero.


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